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Berger: George Pickens Good Bet to be Next Star Steelers WR

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Steelers WR George Pickens

Pro Football Focus has identified the best offseason move for each AFC team, and believe the Pittsburgh Steelers’ was drafting wide receiver George Pickens.

While it is certainly debatable that taking Pickens was the Steelers’ best move from a strong offseason, it is not unreasonable to think he has the makings of a future star.

There is no denying he has the pedigree and physical tools to become a star in Pittsburgh. A second-round selection out of Georgia, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Pickens has the prototypical size scouts crave at the position. He also posted a 4.47-second 40-yard dash, 33-inch vertical jump and a 125-inch broad jump at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. The dude is a freak. NFL analyst Greg Cosell thinks he might be the best wide receiver from the 2022 NFL Draft.

And while times and measurements are important, Pickens truly makes his hay with those physical gifts when the pads go on. Sure Pickens caught touchdowns and made plays in the passing game for the Bulldogs, but go to YouTube and check out his blocking highlights. You will find a sizzle reel that would make Hines Ward smile. Pickens did catch 90 passes for 1,347 yards and 14 touchdowns over three seasons, for good measure.

For a team that has been plagued by drops in recent years, Pickens may already have the surest hands on the roster. He dropped just two passes on catchable targets throughout his collegiate career. That is good enough for a drop rate of under 2.2%.

The Steelers have done this plenty of times before: Antonio Brown. Emmanuel Sanders. Mike Wallace. JuJu Smith-Schuster. All Pro-Bowl wide receivers that were drafted and developed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, none with a first-round draft pick. Given that the franchise wrote the playbook on turning overlooked wideouts in stars, George Pickens becoming the next seems like a good bet.

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